Donít leave home without one! I want to emphasize the
importance of purchasing a good quality guidebook for your
travels. This is one of your essential tools to help you from
day to day. There are many quality guidebooks that target
different types of travellers. Go through a selection of them
and pick out one that meets your needs. Here are the topics
that I found important when I travel.
Coverage: Pick a book that covers the country or countries
you will be travelling to. I would choose to have a watered
down guidebook that covers 10 to 40 counties that I would be
travelling to, instead of buying 10 to 30 individual books.
Maps: Detailed, clearly printed maps of all of the major points
of interest, roads, and railways are really important.
Sometimes this map is all you have when you first arrive in a
City Information: Information on places to stay, things to do,
and places to eat. A map of each major city with marked
hotels, hostels, restaurants, and points of interest. Also
provides a rough estimate of costs and quality for various
Quick Facts: Climate, language, currency, visa requirements,
costs, dangers, events, etc.
Transportation: What is the best way to move around the
country? Listing the various hours of operation, rough
estimates of costs, and contact information is useful.
As important a guidebook is in your travels, donít overuse it.
Some backpackers fall into the mindset that they will only eat
and stay at places that the guidebook lists or go to places the
guidebook lists. Use the guidebook while you are in the
planning stages for hostels or first arrive in your destination.
Your guidebook is just that - a guide - for a traveller to help
them decide where to go next and give suggestions on where
to stay, what is good to eat, and what to do once they arrive.
The authors of these books can never keep up with all the
changes that happen all over the world, nor can they visit
every single hostel or restaurant in every city. Once you have
a place to stay and know the basic area, head to the tourist
agencies or talk to other backpackers for the latest
Once you are finished with your guidebook, you have a couple
options. You can give it or trade it with another backpacker. I
have done this several times. When I was finished with a
guidebook, I would see if anyone had another guidebook for
the next place I was planning to visit. Most hostels have a
ďtake a book, leave a bookĒ area. Find yourself some other
reading material for the trip. You can always keep it and take
it home with you. Itís sometimes nice to look through it and
remember all the places where you have been.
Note: Some backpackers tear pages out of their guidebooks
when they are done with a section or not planning to visit a
certain place. I donít do this. I would rather give my book to
another backpacker who needs it than destroy it. Also, an
undamaged book makes it possible to trade with another